TW: mention of rape
A Brown Wren Perched in a Laurel Tree
After He raped you, God
turned you into a brown bear
when all you really wanted was a pair of gladiator sandals.
Made your son a hunter who took aim at your sacred heart.
Then He stuck him up in the sky, stuck you up too
on the black velvet so now you rotate
with the seasons on a big silver wheel.
God came out of the corner of the room clutching something
purple in His fist and now
you’ll never finish that book
He gave you a stained sweaty shroud, turned
you into a chalice.
God came down as a golden rain,
seeped into a locked box.
But maybe you are fleet.
Maybe you can outrun God
but I think you’ll run right into rivers or the thick sides
of bulls. God swallowed His daughter.
God left the cup alone, unmoved, would not let it pass.
God rolled a huge boulder away from the black mouth
of a tomb, after the fact.
God tried to rape a woman and she became a laurel tree
slowly: last to be sealed up shut were her eyes. Her hair
tangled in shiny leaves and branches (woven into crowns)
and a brown wren perched. Blink once
if this is what you want. Her sisters and brothers wept
wrapped themselves around and across her rough trunk.
Once means yes, twice no.
Jennifer Martelli’s debut poetry collection, The Uncanny Valley, was published in 2016 by Big Table Publishing Company. She is also the author of the chapbook, Apostrophe and the chapbook, After Bird, forthcoming from Grey Book Press. Her work has appeared in Thrush, [Pank], The Baltimore Review, The Heavy Feather Review, and The Pittsburgh Poetry Review. Jennifer Martelli has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net Prizes and is the recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in Poetry. She is a book reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly, as well as a co-curator for The Mom Egg VOX Blog Folio.